The 12 best times to switch jobs

Things to consider when changing jobs

The news lately has not been encouraging for workers. Numerous companies including Microsoft, Disney and Facebook owner Meta Platforms have announced layoffs in recent months. That’s enough to make anyone think twice about leaving their current job.

“Right now, we have a lot of fear,” says Jessica Kriegel, chief scientist of workplace culture for Culture Partners, a firm that helps businesses create a positive work environment. She says some of that fear might be unfounded as there are currently 1.9 job openings for every job seeker.

With economic uncertainty in the air, people may want to carefully consider whether now is the time to leave a stable job. However, if you are ready to make a move, the following are all signs that it’s a good time to switch positions.

Your company isn’t stable.

If rumors are swirling about impending layoffs or your company being bought out, that is a red flag to start polishing your resume. Rather than be forced into a job change, it may be better to start looking now and leave on your own terms.

“When is it time to jump ship? Anytime an organization has significant financial issues or losses,” says career and leadership coach Ayanna E. Jackson. “Don’t get too comfortable and assume you’re bulletproof.”

Your work schedule no longer fits your lifestyle.

A silver lining from the COVID-19 pandemic is that some people discovered there are new ways to do their jobs, such as working remotely. “Much of the resigning that has happened over the last few years has been linked to people realizing that there is more to life than work,” says Lisa Severy, career advisor at University of Phoenix.

If your employer is forcing everyone back to the office but you prefer the freedom and flexibility of working from home, that may be your cue to explore other work opportunities. Depending on your field, self-employment may be an option as well.

You’re feeling burned out.

Burnout is another clear sign it’s time to switch jobs. “If you find yourself constantly tired, lacking passion, creativity or innovation or experiencing diminishing confidence, it may be time for a new challenge,” according to Severy.

In some cases, you may not need to switch employers, but rather move to another position within your organization. If you’re not sure how to change jobs, talk to your supervisor to discuss your concerns and ask whether you may be able to transfer to a different department or role.

You’re trying to build your resume.

Not everyone takes a position and expects to be there forever. Some people are looking for experience to build their resume and pursue other positions. “Gone are the days when employees can expect their employer to offer a secure path of growth and advancement over a period of years,” says career and executive coach Tammy Gooler Loeb. “It is incumbent on the individual to plot out their own vision and goals so that they have a framework for guiding their professional journey.”

However, don’t be too quick to find a new position. If you leave a job before 18 months, you could be seen as a job hopper. On the other hand, continuing in a position more than three years could mean you lose momentum toward your ultimate career goal.

You just received a great performance review.

It may seem counterintuitive to leave a job right after receiving kudos from your boss, but if you were already planning to make a change, after a performance review is a good time to do it. That’s particularly true if you receive a bonus along with the review. “You’ll want to be able to leave with a great written review in hand, along with your money earned,” Jackson says.

Likewise, double-check vesting dates for stock options and retirement plans. If you received a sign-on bonus or relocation funds, be sure you have fulfilled the terms of your contract and won’t have to pay any money back. Finally, coordinate your departure date to maximize your remaining benefits. “Sometimes it’s better to leave March 1 and have benefits through March 31 versus leaving March 10,” according to Jackson.

Your income is stagnant.

Inflation hit a 40-year high in 2022, and if your income isn’t keeping up, that could mean it’s time to change jobs. “Are you being passed over? Are new people in a similar role being hired in at higher levels for more pay?” Severy asks. “It’s easy to get left behind if you are not paying attention to these factors.”

Using a service such as Adzuna’s ValueMyResume is one way to evaluate whether you are being fairly compensated. Websites such as and also have tools that allow people to compare their earnings to those of other workers in their field.

You no longer feel challenged.

For many people, a job is more than a paycheck. It’s a chance to stretch horizons, develop skills and make a difference. However, if you no longer feel challenged by your work, it may be time to change jobs. “If you don’t feel like you’re growing in your career and there’s no path forward, you should move on,” advises Jessica Sweet, a career coach, licensed therapist and owner of Wishingwell Coaching.

It could be that your values have changed, and your current employer no longer offers you work that is personally meaningful. Or it could be that you have maximized your skills in your current position and are ready to move to the next level of your career.

Your workplace is toxic.

Some workplaces provide supportive environments that foster collaboration. Others can be competitive and border on hostile. Kriegel says people need to be aware of something called trauma bonding. It’s when co-workers bond over poor work conditions, and you are trauma bonding when almost all conversations are focused on employment complaints. Kriegel has experienced it in a job herself.

“It became a toxic relationship because we were gossiping,” she explains. While the conversations felt supportive, “We were dragging each other down.” If you find yourself in a toxic work environment, switching jobs can be good for both your mental and physical health. If discrimination or harassment are involved, you may want to talk to an attorney about legal remedies.

You’ve just finished a big project.

As a professional courtesy, it’s typically frowned upon to quit in the middle of a big project. Doing so could leave co-workers in a bind and might eliminate any possibility of receiving a good reference from that employer. It is also best to time a departure after a raise, if possible. That way you can use any higher salary or bonus you receive as leverage when negotiating compensation for a new job.

Your company doesn’t align with your values.

Workers are increasingly looking for employment that aligns with personal beliefs and values. In fact, 56% of employees say they wouldn’t consider working for a company that has values they don’t agree with, according to a 2022 survey of approximately 1,200 employed adults by experience management firm Qualtrics.

It’s something Kriegel calls “purpose fit,” and she says it’s even more important than ensuring a company’s work culture is a good fit. “It gives your work meaning,” she says. If you feel strongly about a particular issue, such as sustainability, you may want to switch careers to find work that prioritizes that value.

You’ve hit a life milestone.

When you hit a major life milestone, such as a marriage or the birth of a child, it makes sense to reevaluate whether your workplace is still a good fit for you. What’s more, your practical needs might change. For instance, you may find you need more money or want a more flexible schedule if you have expanded your family.

You wonder what else is out there.

Sometimes it makes sense to switch jobs simply because you want to explore what other employment options are available. You may feel perfectly content with your current position, but perhaps you could be doing more. “Are you holding yourself back?” Kriegel asks.

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, but if you’ve been working in the same position for an extended period, a job change could open up new career paths you didn’t think were possible before.

Signs it’s time for a job change:

— Your company isn’t stable.

— Your work schedule no longer fits your lifestyle.

— You’re feeling burned out.

— You’re trying to build your resume.

— You just received a great performance review.

— Your income is stagnant.

— You no longer feel challenged.

— Your workplace is toxic.

— You’ve just finished a big project.

— Your company doesn’t align with your values.

— You’ve hit a life milestone.

— You wonder what else is out there.

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The 12 Best Times to Switch Jobs originally appeared on

Update 03/23/23: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.

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